THE four human guinea pigs taking part in our Just4weeks diet challenge have got off to a flying start, losing a combined 21lbs after just five days
After the first weigh-in since starting their diets they have shed an creditable one and a half stone - with one dieter losing an astonishing 11lb.
Just4weeks is the latest diet which challenges traditional weight-loss methods.
We set our four participants the challenge of shedding those unwanted pounds by trying and testing the diet for a month.
It claims sustained weight loss, inch loss, reduction in body fat and increased energy levels are all possible.
Old eating regimes were stopped in favour of carefully devised yet simple meal options, created by doctors and nutritionists. No crash dieting was allowed.
And after only five days, our dieters were delighted with shedding one and half stone in combined weight, with Derick Cochrane, 37, losing a massive 11lb alone. Robert Howden, 53, lost 4lb, wife Kareen lost 3lb and Kirstie Lorimer, 29, also lost 3lb.
"Not everyone is the same when it comes to initial weight loss," explains Helen Stewart, of Best of Health, the company behind Just4weeks. "In general, most people should have started to see some reduction within five days - they should be feeling more comfortable and notice a difference with their energy levels.
"People shouldn’t expect a great change so I’m delighted everyone’s lost weight. A couple of pounds in the first week is the average, so three to four pounds is good, but some people do lose even more. It’s not unusual to see weight loss like Derick’s."
Just4weeks is based on eating a balance of protein foods in conjunction with slow-burning carbohydrates, while supplementing the body’s demand for essential fatty acids (EFAs).
The Glycaemic Index (GI) is the buzz phrase in nutrition and is the rate at which carbohydrates are used.
Carbohydrates which burn quickly have a high GI and those which burn slowly have a low GI. Low GI diets can help people lose weight. Just4weeks uses this index to recommend what foods to eat and what foods to avoid. It is this subtle change that aids the weight loss.
"With this diet you don’t have to follow it rigidly," admits Stewart. "But, for weight loss, I can usually tell who’s followed it 100 per cent from the beginning because you do see results. Everyone is doing really well and it will only get better as the month goes on."
Kareen and Robert Howden
ORIGINAL WEIGHT: Kareen 11st 9lb. Robert 16st 8lb
CURRENT WEIGHT: Kareen 11st 6lb. Loss of 3lb. Robert 16st 4lb. Loss of 4lb.
TARGET WEIGHT: Kareen 9st 9lb. Robert 14st
ORIGINAL FAT COMPOSITION: 42.9% and 44.3%
HUSBAND and wife Kareen and Robert Howden, from Fairmilehead, have decided to diet together to lose the weight they both put on in the last few years. And after five days on the diet, they are already feeling the benefits of their new eating regime.
Sweet fanatic Kareen, 53, is impressed at her lack of hunger and admits to struggling to finish her meals. She says: "It’s not as bad as I would have thought. There’s more than enough to eat, and more than I would normally eat. When I do manage to finish a meal, I’m not at all hungry throughout the day, but I do feel deprived of the sweet things I am used to. I suppose I viewed them as treats but I know I have to be sensible as these treats have caused my weight gain."
The change in eating habits has also led Kareen to experience change within herself. "I feel as if I could be trimming down," she admits. "I’m a little more energetic, my stomach isn’t bloated after meals and I do feel slightly slimmer although I’m astonished I’ve lost 3lb as I ate loads of goodies the night before I started the diet."
She adds: "I’m more confident that I can continue on the diet, and as long as I don’t see my old sweet treats I’ll be fine. I had friends round to the house yesterday and they ate cream buns in front of me. I had to sit and look out of the window and avoid looking at the treats!"
Robert hasn’t found the new diet easy, but has settled into his new eating regime which means him actually eating more than before. "I found the diet quite hard at the start as I was changing the type of foods I was used to," says Robert. "I was having to eat more in the morning and give up my usual cereal.
"I was also surprised at what I couldn’t eat. We’re always told that things like cereal, carrots and turnips are good for us, but now we can’t eat them."
Robert is also not used to the amount he has to eat, but is managing to adapt. He says: "I’m having to eat much more than I would normally eat."
But Robert is also slimmer too, having lost 4lb. "I’m impressed that I’ve lost weight as I honestly didn’t expect it. I’ve been struggling to eat the portions so I thought there was no way I could have lost weight eating more."
ORIGINAL WEIGHT: 13st 12lb
CURRENT WEIGHT: 13st 9lb. Loss of 3lb.
TARGET WEIGHT: 11st 12lb
ORIGINAL FAT COMPOSITION: 38.4 per cent
KIRSTIE, 29, has decided that the new year means getting back her healthy lifestyle. Moving in with her carbohydrate-loving boyfriend had caused her to gain weight, which decreased her motivation to eat healthily. But, five days into a low- carbohydrate diet Kirstie couldn’t be happier, despite an initial shock to the taste-bud system.
She says: "I did find it hard to begin with as I felt the food was quite unhealthy - I’m used to eating much more vegetables and was initially worried it was like the Atkins. But I’m more used to it now and understand it better. I’m eating fish rather than meat and I’m eating as many vegetables as possible."
Kirstie hasn’t had to struggle with hunger pangs either, as the eating regime has kept her full. She adds: "I’ve still got sugar cravings but I’m not hungry, even though I’m going to the gym. I still miss my bowl of cereal though."
And by losing 3lb in the first week, Kirstie is now motivated to continue. "I wasn’t expecting to lose a huge amount of weight in the first week so I am surprised that I’ve lost 3lb. I’m really pleased with the result."
ORIGINAL WEIGHT: 18st 4lb
CURRENT WEIGHT: 17st 7lb. Loss of 11lb.
TARGET WEIGHT: 16st
ORIGINAL FAT COMPOSITION: 28.9 per cent
TAKEAWAYS and beer have been 37-year-olds Derick’s vice and caused his weight gain. But after five days on the diet, he is enjoying his new eating regime immensely.
"It’s been great," says Derick. "I’m really enjoying it because I’ve not had to cut down on the volume of food I eat. I’ve cut down on the bad foods - beer and curry - but I’ve not really missed them. I can still drink beer, but just not as much."
The diet has also taught Derick which foods are good and which are bad, and he says this has motivated him to lose the weight.
"I now eat totally different food from before, and I’ve moved away from breads, rice, pasta," he says. "I’m following it rigidly and I’ve definitely seen an improvement - I’ve haven’t even felt hungry at all.
"I feel healthier - I used to suffer from indigestion but I’ve not experienced that once since the diet - and I also feel a wee bit slimmer."
And Derick is officially more than a "wee bit slimmer", having shed 11lb in his first week of dieting.
"The diet has given me drive to reach my goal now," he says.